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Phoenix raises a glass to improved business continuity for Marston's PLC with Shadow-Planner


Marston’s a leading independent brewing and pub retailing business with 13,000 employees and £650m p.a. turnover; five breweries, seven distribution centres and 2,150 pubs across England and Wales.

Better protect a large, disparate and geographically dispersed business against multiple eventualities by improving the quality, consistency and resilience of business continuity planning and execution in a focused, easy to use and cost-effective way.

Phoenix’s award winning Shadow-Planner platform accessed via a web browser; Business Continuity Planning tools to develop and maintain effective and up-to-date plans.

Improved capabilities in multiple areas: more effective, accurate, up-to-date and consistent planning across a complex business, helping improve enterprise governance, risk and controls through more focused and auditable activity; reducing business interruption losses significantly following a major incident.

Shadow-Planner for business continuity protects major brewing business
The UK’s leading independent brewing and pub retailing business, Marston’s has used Phoenix Shadow-Planner to protect its brewing and distribution operations since 2007. Supporting business continuity planning and implementation, Shadow-Planner’s value was clearly illustrated when serious floods affected Marston’s Cumbrian brewery. According to Jonathan Moore, Corporate Risk Manager, “The business interruption cost to the brewery was £43,000 – a very low figure when you consider what it might have been. The financial implications of using Shadow-Planner are clear; it helped reduce that impact.”

More effective BC planning
“We’d always had BC plans but they’d evolved over time, were not very formalised, and most covered product recalls,” says Harriet Wood, Business Continuity Co-ordinator. “We’d acquired new sites and inherited their plans, so we struggled with coherence and consistency.” Marston’s facilities comprise the large-scale Banks’ Brewery site in Wolverhampton (including the company’s Head Office), Marston’s Brewery in Burton upon Trent, Jennings Brewery in the Lake District, Ringwood Brewery in Hampshire, and Wychwood Brewery in Oxfordshire; Wood’s responsibilities also extend to seven distribution centres including Romsey in the south Hull in the north, Wolverhampton in the Midlands and a largescale facility at Mansfield. Marston’s resolved to improve BC in 2007 by adopting Shadow-Planner. “We wanted to improve planning and ensure more viable plans, and were also encouraged by our insurer,” Wood says .“We chose Shadow-Planner after we spoke to other users, who provided excellent feedback. It also had several awards - that industry recognition carried a lot of weight.” The plan was to train 40 key managers to input and review current plans to ensure they were kept up-to-date, “But we soon scaled up our approach and developed a variety of new plans,” Wood adds. Shadow-Planner was soon delivering benefits across Marston’s ‘six key continuity risks’

  • Simplicity - straightforward to use, the solution was soon integrated within Marston’s own web portal
  • Plans - templates enabled faster and more effective creation of plans for different locations and requirements
  • Ownership – Shadow-Planner enabled the clear assignment of roles, tasks and responsibilities
  • Continual Review – supporting the formalisation of processes, with assured updating and testing of plans
  • Audit – providing visibility of gaps in planning
  • Reporting – to managers and the BC Steering Committee, including ongoing Task Summaries and Tasks Overdue

Over 50 managers covering all Marston’s production and brewing sites are now trained to use Shadow-Planner. “As an example of improvements, before Shadow-Plannerthe Head Brewer at Burton had no documented crisis plan,” says Moore. “After Shadow Planner, we had 53 plans with seven crisis triggers for two key continuity risks, 20 actions for the seven triggers, and 16 procedures linked to those action plans.” Powerful Scenario Testing capabilities also meant the business was far better prepared for a multitude of eventualities.

Trouble brewing – and a ‘miraculous turnaround’
Wood continues, “The system enables very good reviews and analysis of your plans, including Crisis Scenario Testing, and everyone’s plans are in the same format. Shadow-Planner also encourages managers to look at the detail: who’s responsible for what, what should happen when, and so on. It enables us to make site-specific and so more effective plans. While previous plans were largely brewery-based, we’ve now covered our distribution sites: not only increasing our BC plans but also ensuring they’re uniform.” She adds, “Office Relocation was another big gain: it’s great to know where we can go should problems affect one site. And using Shadow-Planner led us to build our own Crisis Management Room.” The strength of BC planning was tested when floods hit Cumbria in 2009, inundating the historic Jennings Brewery in Cockermouth.

The scale of the disaster was huge - but Marston’s was ready. “Everyone was very well prepared,” says Wood, “from the fast evacuation of staff onwards. Shadow-Planner meant we were better able to deal with the floods.” Brewing immediately relocated to Wolverhampton and Burton, the damage was assessed quickly, and a date for reopening predicted.

Continual customer service was confirmed. Moore adds, “This disaster actually became an opportunity to demonstrate Marston’s core values and strengths, with the overall resilience of the brewery actually strengthened.” Recovery was achieved with minimum business interruption loss, with Marston’s also able to demonstrate a clear commitment to the site, confirm the provenance of its beers, and become more closely involved with the local community.

With the brewery reopened in less than three months, it was named Corporate Social responsibility (CSR) Pub Company of the Year by The Publican, which commented: ‘Jennings Brewery has supported not only its staff but the whole community following the disastrous floods… the way Jennings has turned around a disaster of this scale is nothing short of miraculous.’ Wood adds, “We’re very happy with the solution and what it provides to Marston’s. We’ve developed a close working relationship with Phoenix, which has a clear development path for Shadow-Planner that we’re very keen to be involved with: Phoenix is so well-placed to take the solution forward with new features and functionality, really bringing together the software side with real-life business continuity requirements.”


About Marston’s PLC
Marston’s PLC is a leading independent brewing and pub retailing business operating a vertically integrated business model.

Marston’s operate around 2,150 pubs and bars situated across England and Wales, comprising around 1,650 tenanted or leased pubs and around 500 managed pubs at the heart of thriving local communities offering a welcoming environment and value for money.

About Phoenix
We are UK leaders in providing IT infrastructure services to help businesses innovate and grow while cutting costs and risk. We can host your services in the cloud or in the data centre, simplify desktop management, and build secure, reliable networks. Our business availability services can keep you working at all times. Whatever your needs, our professional experts can advise, plan and deploy, while our nationwide network of engineers are easily available for your support.

Out Quote:
“We chose Shadow-Planner after we spoke to other users, who provided excellent feedback. It also had several awards – that industry recognition carried a lot of weight.”
Harriet Wood Business Continuity Co-ordinator Marston’s PLC

Press contacts
Robert Jessel / Nick Bird
Spreckley Partners Ltd

Tel: +44 (0)207 388 9988